Innovation Competition – Financial Services for Refugees in Rwanda


This page provides a useful summary and the latest news in relation to FSD Africa’s and Access to Finance Rwanda’s (AFR) ‘Innovation Competition – Financial Services for Refugees in Rwanda’. This is the third step in FSD Africa’s increasing commitment to inclusive financial sector development for refugees – for more information see our general page on Forcibly Displaced People (FDP) Finance.

What is the Innovation Competition?

Together with AFR, FSD Africa – a UK Aid agency for financial sector development in Africa – is launching a competition to identify the brightest and best solutions to bring financial access to refugees in Rwanda. The competition aims to increase awareness, build customer relationships and expand financial offerings for refugees.

In Round 1, up to four of most promising concepts will each receive up to £10,000. This seed capital will be used to test the product, service or solution; buy in technical expertise and strengthen the business case. The Round 1 application form can be found below.

In Round 2, up to three winning proposals will then be selected to pitch their concepts to a second panel of judges for up to £150,000 of investment. Subject to further approval by the FSD Africa Investment Committee and the AFR Investment Committee, independent due diligence will begin. If funding is subsequently awarded, the project will move to pilot testing and/or scale up.

How Will The Judging Process Work?

  • Round One applications will be judged by an expert and varied panel. This panel consists of representatives from: Head of Inclusive Markets Team at CGAP, Steve Rasumssen; Head of Agriculture and Rural Finance at Access to Finance Rwanda, Livingstone Nshemereirwe; Economist at DFID Rwanda, Viola Dub, and Financial Inclusion Officer at UNHCR, Micol Pistelli
  • Round Two applications will be judged by a similar panel, to be confirmed.

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

  • Round One Application Deadline – 1800 EAT 20th December 2017. Round One Application Forms must be submitted to: ‘‘ with the subject line: ‘Innovation Competition – Financial Services for Refugees in Rwanda’ for assessment by the Round 1 judging panel. Please find Round One Application Forms below.
  • Round Two Application Deadline – Details regarding the Round 2 of this competition will be released in early 2018.


FSD Africa is very grateful for its partnerships with  Access to Finance Rwanda – financial sector development agency in Rwanda, UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency, and MIDIMAR – Rwandan Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees.

Supporting Documents

At present, there are two key documents that underpin this project.

  • Round 1 Application Form. An unlocked MS Word document template. This is designed for Round 1 applicants to complete and submit to FSD Africa for assessment. It should take no longer than two hours to complete. This also contains a full eligibility criteria.
  • Refugees and Their Money. This a short-brief of the full research, which will be released soon by FSD Africa and BFA and highlights the market potential and business case for financial institutions to engage with FDP as customers.

For further information, please see or contact Howard Miller at